The working group was formed in January 2018 by the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, Jeremy Hunt, to assess what more needs to be done to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of meningitis.
Here at Meningitis Now, raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease is a vital part of our work, therefore, we welcomed the formation of this working group, seeing it as an opportunity to positively influence the future landscape of meningitis.
The working group consisted of experts from the healthcare field, meningitis charities and families who had been affected by meningitis.
The family representatives who attended the meetings were Paul Gentry, dad of Izzy who died after contracting Men B, Kirsty Ermenekli, mum of Layla-Rose who died from meningococcal sepsis, and Nicole Zographou, sister of George who died after contracting Men B.
The family members played a vital role in the meetings by sharing their personal stories with the group, which generated important discussions about the failures that led to the loss of their loved ones.
The themes that were raised and discussed included lack of early diagnosis and treatment within front line healthcare services, and confusion surrounding vaccines.
The group, who met three times between January and April, have made a total of 12 recommendations; four of which are general recommendations surrounding diagnosis and treatment, and eight which are aimed at specific organisations, including meningitis charities.
Dr Tom Nutt, CEO at Meningitis Now, concluded that the charity is pleased with the recommendations, saying, “We are happy that this report recognises the importance of early diagnosis and treatment, as we know that early intervention can vastly improve outcomes.”
“We will review the recommendations for meningitis charities included in the report, and will begin work to proactively move towards implementing these recommendations.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the families involved in this working group, as their bravery and commitment to make a difference has been vital in helping experts determine the recommendations.”
You can read the full report and see the 12 recommendations at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/meningococcal-working-group-report